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September 19, 2022

Abrdn seeks to repay nearly £500m to shareholders

Beleaguered British fund manager Abrdn is planning to pay as much as £500m ($566.8m) back to its shareholders to avoid an uproar after it was dropped from FTSE 100 index earlier this month, reported Financial Times (FT).

The company plans to offer an extra sum of £400-500m to the shareholders by the end of this year by selling its stakes in other firms, said people privy to the development.

Currently, the board of directors at Abrdn are in talks to draw a return system that could involve special dividend, added one source.

However, the plan would require regulatory approval.

Abrdn has initiated the plan to improve returns for investors after the price of its share dropped over 40% this year.

The drop has pushed the firm out of the UK blue-chip index for the first time since it was created after the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life in 2017.

In the first half of this year, Abrdn posted a pre-tax loss of £320m amid ‘market turbulence’.

Last month, Abrdn CEO Stephen Byrd was quoted by FT as saying: “People were disappointed with the pace of change five years after the merger, but I’ve been here since September 2020.

“I can only move as fast as you can manage the changes. (and) we’re moving very, very fast.”

Earlier this year, Abrdn stated that it would return £300m to the shareholders.

A total of £150m of the amount would be funded through share buybacks, while the remaining £150m might be included in the newly planned payout.

So far this year, Abrdn sold two of its stakes in HDFC to raise around £500m. Earlier this year, the company also sold 300m worth of Phoenix shares, around 50% of which were used in an ongoing share buyback programme of the company.

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